Recommendations for an Evaluation of the District of Columbia’s Paid Sick Days Law

In a new briefing paper, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) recommends that the District of Columbia undertake a comprehensive study of the effects of the city’s paid sick leave law – The Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act (ASSLA).

In  2008, DC became the second city in the country to pass a law requiring that employers allow workers to earn a minimum of paid sick days. Four years after the passage of DC’s paid sick days law, 80% or restaurant workers still do not have access to paid sick days, and 60% have reported cooking, preparing, and serving food while sick.

The IWRP suggests that a study would help determine whether employers are complying with the current law, and whether employees are aware that they could start earning paid sick days after a certain period of employment.

Studies have found that allowing workers to have access to paid sick days can help improve worker productivity, reduce turnover in an industry with such a high turnover rate, and most importantly reduce the risk of contagion.

What the IWPR is requesting is simply for the Auditor of the District of Columbia to prepare and submit a report on the impact this law – which is one of the provisions of the actual law. The Paid Sick Days for All Coalition welcomes and supports the idea of an audit on the 2008 Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act. As Ari Weisbard, Advocacy Manager with the DC Employment Justice Center (DCEJC) stated, “many DC businesses are providing paid sick days thanks to the DC law, but from our conversations with workers—from cooks to child care and medical providers—more needs to be done to ensure workers get their earned sick leave and don’t come to work sick.”

Nikki Lewis, Executive Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center, also welcomes the recommendations of the IWPR and thinks that a study on the impact of  the current law is much needed, especially “in light of the fact that the restaurant industry is one of the largest and top grossing industries in the District that touches the lives of consumers, workers, and employers alike.” Nikki, a long time restaurant worker herself, agrees that not only are earned paid sick days reasonable and possible, but they’re necessary for the continued growth and sustainability of a healthy DC workforce and economy.

To read the full text of the “Recommendations for an Evaluation of the District of Columbia’s Paid Sick Days Law” by Kevin Miller, Ph.D. scroll down.

To download and print a copy, click HERE.

Recommendations for an Evaluation of the District of Columbia’s Paid Sick Days Law